Sunday, January 29, 2012

My One-eyed Pirate.

     At the barn we had a difficult health problem with one of our best horses.  Since some of our horses are seniors, it is inevitable that this will sometimes occur.  
     I love horses of all different ages.  Like people, in the different stages of their lives they give us different aspects of the joys of life.  I absolutely love the energy and curiosity of young horses and respect and admire the wisdom of older horses.  The older troopers that have been in competition for years and have seen the “world” can take things in stride.  I love to put young equine or human campaigners with older, confident horses, it helps them so much.
     So, when “Rosco” developed a serious eye problem last spring, I was devastated but I hid my great dismay from my client, Rosco’s owner.  As we went through the rigorous weeks trying to save the vision in his quickly failing eye, it became apparent we were fast losing ground and that Rosco was in pain.  The brave decision was made by Rosco’s owner to have the eye removed. 
      We were justifiable concerned about his ability to adapt.  But adapt he did!  Because he lost his vision gradually, the change was not great.  We of course have to slightly alter our actions so that we do not surprise him.  But amazingly, he still does a wonderful job doing trail courses.  He is still a magician loping over and around things and even his walkovers still have wonderful expression.  It has been such an advantage that he and his owner have the most wonderful relationship, one built on years of trust and teamwork. 
     So, yes, older horses or horses that have gone through severe physical trauma or injury do have a future!  But it is up to us, their owners, trainers and handlers to help them overcome their adversities.  I am constantly amazed by Rosco’s recovery and I lovingly and with much admiration, call him my “one eyed pirate”.    (P.S.  I think he should have a pet parrot!)    See you next week.  JD

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